The UN Urged Japan To Postpone The Decision To Dump Water Into The Ocean From An Emergency Nuclear Power Plant
Experts are concerned about reports that the Japanese authorities have changed the schedule for dumping water-related to radioactive waste into the ocean without providing time or opportunity for meaningful consultations.
UN human rights experts have called on Japan to postpone the final decision on the discharge of water from the emergency Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant to the ocean until deep internal and international consultations are held. This is stated in their statement issued on Tuesday in Geneva.
"We are deeply concerned about reports that the Japanese government has accelerated the schedule for dumping water-related to radioactive waste into the ocean without providing time or opportunity for meaningful consultations," the experts said. According to them, "reliable sources" inform that the postponement of the Olympic games in Tokyo due to the coronavirus has now allowed the government to address this issue.
The UN believes that the public consultations on this topic were "very insufficient" in time for discussion of this problem by local residents affected by the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in Japan and the public of neighboring countries, given the limitations in the context of the pandemic. According to experts, "there is no need for hasty decisions," since initially the public discussion was supposed to be held after the Olympic games, which were originally planned for July-August 2020. "We call on the Japanese government to provide sufficient space and opportunity for consultations on how to manage nuclear waste, which is likely to affect people both inside and outside Japan," the document emphasizes.
The statement was signed by Baskut Tuncak, UN Special Rapporteur on environmental management and disposal of hazardous wastes, as well as his colleagues - Special Rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful Assembly and Association Clement Nyaletsossi Vul and Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples' rights Jose Francisco Cali Tsai.
On January 31, a Committee of experts under the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan called for draining the water from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant as a whole, purified from radioactive substances, into the ocean or vaporizing it into the atmosphere. Experts believe that this will not have any impact on people or the environment. In this case, the discharge into the ocean, in their opinion, is easier to control for consequences. In March, it was reported that three emergency reactors at the nuclear power plant are continuously filled with water for cooling. It flows through gaps in the buildings of installations, is pumped out and is decontaminated. At the same time, the water is purified from almost all radioactive substances except for a small amount of tritium, which is considered not too dangerous. Water accumulates in tanks on the territory of the nuclear power plant.
The accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant occurred in March 2011, when the power supply and cooling systems at the plant failed as a result of a tsunami. As a result, three reactors melted nuclear fuel, which burned through their protective hulls. This was accompanied by hydrogen explosions and the release of a large volume of radioactive substances, which led to contamination of the surrounding areas of the station. Individual spots of radiation were found in other regions of Japan.